Treasury admits failure on haredi workforce integration

Haredim in high tech photo: Ariel Yerusalimsky

Labor force participation rates among haredim are lowest in the 25-34 age bracket.

The increase in employment of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men since 2000 has come to a halt in the past 18 months, according to the weekly economic review published today by the Ministry of Finance.

Only half of haredi men aged 25-64 work for a living, compared with nearly 87.6% among non-haredi men. As of mid-2017, the employment rate among haredi men was 12% short of the 63% target set by government for 2020. These figures indicate that the employment rate among haredi men has increased by an average of 1% a year since 2012. At that rate, the 2020 target is unreachable.

The figures show that the policy for including haredi men in the labor force has failed. "At the current rate, the target for employment of haredi men will be achieved only in 2030," the Ministry of Finance writes. "One possible reason for the lack of success in including haredi men in the labor force is that their priorities are different, with work being assigned a low value in their general sense of their welfare - a fact that enhances the importance of increasing the incentives to go to work, as opposed to increasing transfer payments."

The gloomiest figure published today by the Ministry of Finance concerns the trend. Employment rates among haredi men have not risen, and have even fallen slightly over the past two years, following a strong rise in the two years before that (2014-2015). The current Netanyahu government, in which the haredi parties are partners, took power in mid-2015, replacing a government that left those parties in the opposition.

It is interesting to note that the policy aimed at including haredi women in the labor force has been very successful; the employment rate among haredi women has already exceeded the target set for 2020. Haredi women have been successful, despite the fact that their fertility rate is among the highest in the world, at an average of 6.9 children per woman.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the employment rate among haredi men has risen over the past 15 years, This trend accelerated from the fourth quarter of 2014 through the fourth quarter of 2015, Most of the increase in employment rates among haredi men has been in the 25-34 and 35-44 age brackets.

Analysis of employment rates by location indicates that the rate among haredi men is higher in the new haredi towns than in the older ones. The leading town in haredi employment among men was Beitar Illit with 58% (compared with 35% in 2006-2010), followed by Elad (56%, compared with 34% in 2006-2010), Jerusalem (44%, compared with 30% in 2006-2010), Beit Shemesh (43%, compared with 29% in 2006-2010), Modi'in Illit (40%, compared with 23% in 2006-2010), and Bnei Brak (39%, compared with 37% in 2006-2010).

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - - on September 25, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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Haredim in high tech photo: Ariel Yerusalimsky
Haredim in high tech photo: Ariel Yerusalimsky
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